The typical 9-to-5, seven-day schedule is becoming a thing of the past. Technology, global commerce, and a new generation of workers are ushering in new ways to work. And workers are favoring more flexible schedules and shorter workdays and workweeks.
But for many small businesses, accommodating schedule requests might be difficult or just impossible. Regardless, shifting ideas around schedules is putting pressure on business owners to re-examine employee schedules.
Schedules and Their Effect on Employees
Work schedules can have a direct impact on employee happiness and retention. Luckily, 76% of workers are either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their current work schedules, according to a recent scheduling survey. Less than 10% said they were “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with their current schedules. But just over half (56%) of respondents said their managers determine their schedules. Overall, 41% of survey-takers said they’d choose a different schedule if they could.
The survey also found the need for a better work-life balance was the most significant reason respondents wanted new schedules. Nearly 1 in 5 believe their schedules affect their health and sleep negatively. Other respondents wanted new schedules so that they could spend more time with their loved ones. Over 28% said they spend two hours or less, or no time at all, with their families on workdays.
The survey results reflect many of the evolving feelings around schedules today. As millennials and Gen Z-ers take over the workforce, there’s an increased emphasis on finding jobs that provide a better balance. “That’s how millennials and Gen Z-ers are playing the game,” one worker told the New York Times. “It’s not about jumping up titles, but moving into better work environments.”
4 Tips for Finding the Right Schedule for Your Team
With this information in mind, what can small business owners do to improve their employee’s work schedules? Unfortunately, many small businesses may not be able to implement flexible schedules. But employers can still consider the negative impact their existing schedules might have on employees. Here are four tips to help small business owners evaluate their employee work schedules and find better solutions for their teams.
1. Personalize Schedules When Possible
The best place to start your evaluation is at the source: your employees. Ask them how they feel about their current schedules. Then ask them how they would prefer their schedules.
You may not be able to meet all their needs right away. But you’ll have a better understanding of how you can make positive changes to their schedules. And if some workers need more personalized schedules, you can take those requests into account as you build a new schedule.
2. Aim for Consistent Schedules Instead of Rotating Schedules
Besides work-life balance, consistency is another important factor to consider when building employee schedules. Among surveyed workers, 60% with a weekly rotating schedule said they would prefer a different option. Although the majority (59%) said they work consistent schedules, there was an apparent decrease in overall job satisfaction among those who don’t. Consistency can also impact employee retention: 67% of those with a consistent schedule had been at their job for three or more years.
Once you’ve heard from your employees, aim to make their schedules as consistent as possible. Flexibility and consistency don’t have to be at odds. Letting your employees know when they can expect their weekends can help them establish a routine. In return, they’ll be less likely to pursue other opportunities.
3. Consider a Digital Solution
Paper schedules aren’t good for the modern workforce. Workers can misplace or forget about them. And managers can’t always communicate changes effectively. But digital schedules can increase schedule visibility and overall efficiency for the whole team. Many digital solutions also offer smartphone apps, letting employees check their weekly schedules on their mobile phones. A digital scheduling solution can help keep everyone in the loop.
4. Get Feedback From Your Team
As you implement a new schedule, you’ll want to get consistent feedback from your team on how it’s working for them. Circle back with them in a few weeks, and again in a few months. You might not be able to make a perfect, personalized solution for everyone. But you can take the feedback they give you to make consistent improvements.
Adjusting employee schedules can be tricky for small business owners. But the challenge is worth the effort if it means happier, healthier, and more loyal employees.
Author: Katie McBeth, prior to joining the TSheets by QuickBooks marketing team, spent her time writing for various blogs across the web, including Quiet Revolution, Fortune Magazine, and many more. Her writing focus is on small business management, marketing, and recruitment. When she’s not writing, she’s hanging out with her small private zoo of three cats, two dogs, and dozens of plants.